China voices opposition to Obama-Dalai Lama meeting

February 04, 2010

WASHINGTONCHICAGOBEIJINGTEHRAN, Iran — - China again urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday not to hold a planned meeting with Dalai Lama, saying it would further hurt already strained bilateral relations. It was the second successive day that China has spoken out against the meeting, and comes after Beijing said ties had been harmed by a U.S. announcement last week that it would sell arms to Taiwan. The United States has already brushed aside previous warnings from China, and White House spokesman Bill Burton said Tuesday the meeting was still planned, although no date has been set. "The president told ... China's leaders during his trip last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama, and he intends to do so. The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the president will meet with him in that capacity," Burton said. According to Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, the Dalai Lama's secretary, the Dalai Lama will be in Washington on Feb 17-18. He then will head for California and Florida before returning to India on Feb. 26. He would not give any other details. China is very sensitive to any meetings that the India-based Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has with government leaders, calling them interference in its internal affairs.

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